I’m reading David Anthony Durham’s The Other Lands.
Currently I’ve finished The Gray Slopes and will continue with On Love and Dragons in a second updating post.
As I read (which’ll take a few days) I’ll be making notes and updating
this the next post.
Why? Because I love the world of Acacia: the breadth and depth of its peoples, even rendered unto just one book, much less two, is unlike just about everything else out there in epic fantasy.
Also, I’ve decided to make updating these posts a secondary activity whilst reading.
There will be spoilers!
You have been warned.
The Story So Far
Wow, this is unusual and very well done. Thank the gods for texts that don’t attempt to ramrod hundreds of pages of backstory into the actual story—but still provide it in an offset. And this hasn’t been merely dashed off or a bullet list or any such loveless combination—this is well-told storytelling even though it’s “just” a “where we are.”
Not necessary for reading if you’ve just recently finished the first book, Acacia: The War with the Mein, but if it’s been a while, this little section touches every important point and in a great way.
The great thing about Kindles is that you can redownload and search individual books, and, for instance, name-check Ravi and Mór, who definitely don’t show up in The War with the Mein.
But it looks like we’ll get more information on what they do with all the children. Twins? Death-eating spirits? Auldek?
And thence we head right into the first book of The Other Lands, The Gray Slopes.
Book One: The Gray Slopes
I really love fierce Mena. Her story thread back in The War with the Mein was one of my favorites. Not everybody gets to be an incarnation of vengeance when they grow up. Melio and Kelis are two of my favorite (still surviving…) secondary characters. I miss Aliver, but don’t we all…
Corinn apparently continues to be mysterious and cold. I vaguely remember the deal she made with the Numrek from last book. And I’m glad that chapter two is serving her right up; of the children, she’s become the most interesting to me (if not beloved).
Ah Cersei, if only you were principled and smart.
Corinn is a delight to read, in terms of tension, conflict, and a calculated balance. 9 years have passed and her aspects of cold politician and warm mother come out here. She’s a much nuanced character.
I wonder if her choice in secretary was all that wise.
New name: Neen from the League.
Poor Dariel. His islands being used for quite nefarious purpose.
Also: royal succession is going to be a mess. I’m a little bit afraid of what Corinn is going to do with her siblings in regard to that.
Dariel! I think I may start to like him better this book. Somehow he reminds me of Wimsey but I think that’s just me.
Thinking about the former children, all split up still (or rather, about to be all split up again).
Poor Dariel. Corinn as a sister and queen is quite concerning. Also, considering what happened after Aliver died, I’m not sure that sending Dariel to secure the mist trade with the Lothan Aklun and the Auldek is a good idea (as far as Corinn is concerned).
Barad, voice of the quiet and steady rebellion against “my (Akaran) way or the high way.” I wonder what horrible thing is going to happen to him.
I wonder if there’s a naughty rhyme about Rialus’ bed chamber. Also, nice to see Calrach again! And of course he has a son.
“You are not so much a rat anymore. More of a weasel now.” (Calrach to Rialus)
I hope Neen gets his clock cleaned. And I never considered Rialus’ self-preservation super-senses. Corinn again.
Hey. What ever happened to General Leeka Alain?
Ecological and economical chaos aren’t usually what one thinks of when magic wreaks havoc in the world; I like that touch/theme (it’s been present throughout, even back in The War with the Mein). Also I like that Talay isn’t simply just Talay (but also has, for instance, Halaly, a different culture, in it). Not a paint-by-numbers world.
“Heroes always die young,” poor Oubadal.
Thinking about the previous chapter and the Other Lands, which are not at all other to the Numrek.
Dariel really reminds me of Wimsey now, but I think it’s more the youthful attitude combined with feeling out of place at court.
And Corinn has issues. I really love that.
Watching what the royal siblings have been saying about each other to other people is quite revealing, as much for the speaker as for the spoken-of.
I was quite afraid that dreams of Aliver meant Kelis was going to bite it this chapter. (He may still do so, of course.) Whew (for now). And Kelis backstory! And Kelis heading off to start a plot thread of his own! Yay!
In Lone Wolf and Cub about two-thirds of the way through that epic ((One of the most realistically drawn and historical-ish manga of all time, and epic of vengeance that at the same time is not merely reduced to a story of vengeance.)) a dude named Abe Kai showed up.
I hate Neen in quite a similar manner. Hopefully he’ll have a serious comeuppance.
Man, Barad doesn’t know what the royal siblings went through, does he? Also, what happens after the revolution is no concern of his? Oy. Still, he thinks it’s for the best or he’s in denial about the resulting chaos afterwards. On the other hand, maybe that is for the best. Shades of gray, I like.
King Grae (Aushenia) really doesn’t grasp the irony of… almost every thing he’s said this chapter.
Also: man, they don’t know Corinn’s paranoia and determination, do they. Unless they’ve got Rhrenna in their pocket. Must remember Aliver with regards to the life and death of main characters, though.
Things are starting to move much faster now (they were fast, not boring, before).
Oy vey. Before we even see them! The Lothan Aklun are gone, and boy, is Dariel in trouble. Things moving at breakneck speed now.
I like the intelligence of the main power players here. No simpleton Abe Kai here. Excellent.
The Leaue toppled the Lothan Aklun in an act that was either too easy or flawless. Makes one extremely concerned now for Corinn and Mena. Dariel very much in the soup.
Nice to see more of Talay. Corinn performs serious magic in Bocoum, though I worry that the ecological change, as well-intended as it can be from a paranoid magician-ruler, will not end well. But I don’t know at this point.
Dear Mena: Next time when people say that a silly-looking foulthing eating fruit is actually a winged voracious carnivore, maybe you should believe them.
Sire Neen: blah blah posturing blah blah asking for it blah blah
Dariel: *gagged silence*
Satisfaction! And Neen went to a very sticky end indeed, after committing quite the diplomatic fuck-up.
Screwing around with the Numrek or Auldek seems a fairly bad idea. As is immediately removing an entire civilization that was buffering you from them. And assuming that the Numrek coming back with you won’t play a surprising role in state affairs.
[to be continued in the next post]